An inside look at the Seattle Seahawks’ 38-31 loss to Denver on Sunday:
Terrell Davis and Olandis Gary were out with injuries, so leave it to the Broncos’ third-string running back to win the game. Rookie Mike Anderson, who is 29 yards away from hitting the 1,000-yard mark on the season, broke an 80-yard run with 3:34 to go to account for the game-winning touchdown.
Seahawks receiver Darrell Jackson looked like he had a 7-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter … at least until Billy Jenkins came along. Jenkins’ hit jarred the ball from Jackson’s hands, and the Seahawks threw an interception on the next play.
Isaiah Kacyvenski’s latest tattoo didn’t cost him anything. On a Seattle punt in the first quarter, Kacyvenski did not see Denver return man Deltha O’Neal call for a fair catch. The Seahawks’ rookie linebacker nailed O’Neal immediately after the catch, causing officials to throw a penalty flag. But an ensuing unsportsmanlike penalty on Denver players for jumping on Kacyvenski caused the play to be wiped out, leading to a re-kick.
Best catch: Despite double coverage, Seattle’s Derrick Mayes pulled in a 40-yard pass from Brock Huard while barely keeping both feet in bounds.
Best run, defense division: Move over, Ricky Watters. The best run of Sunday’s game belonged to defensive end Michael Sinclair, who picked up a Gus Frerotte fumble and rambled 63 yards for the game’s first touchdown. With 6-foot-5, 291-pound Tony Jones in pursuit, Sinclair cut to the sideline, then outsprinted Jones into the end zone.
Best run, running back division: Not to be outdone, Watters put on quite a show during his 55-yard scamper in the second quarter. Watters took advantage of a huge hole up the middle, then juked Denver cornerback Terrell Buckley with an inside-out move at the Broncos’ 40 to pick up the final 27 yards.
Best run, receiver division: Rod Smith’s 50-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter was remarkable in that he lined up at tailback on the play. Smith got a huge block from running back Mike Anderson, who sealed off Seattle’s Shawn Springs at the 30. Smith carried three times for 78 yards, his first three carries out of the backfield all season.
Best instant replay challenge: After watching the replay on the big screen at Husky Stadium, Denver coach Mike Shanahan challenged a 13-yard pass from Jon Kitna to Sean Dawkins in the third quarter. After looking at an instant replay, officials overturned the call, and Seattle had to eventually settle for a 42-yard Rian Lindell field goal.
Worst call … in hindsight: Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren ignored Lindell’s 42-yarder, and a 48-yarder that beat San Diego earlier this season, when he opted to go for it on fourth-and-1 from the Denver 28. Instead of having Lindell kick a 45-yard field goal for a potential 10-point lead one minute into the fourth quarter, Holmgren called a running play to Shaun Alexander. The play came up short, then Denver got the ball back and drove for the game-tying score.
Best performance in a loss: Watters had a career-high 126 receiving yards, and his second-quarter touchdown was the 75th of his career — passing Earl Campbell and LeRoy Kelly to move into 13th place on the all-time list of rushing touchdowns.
Worst rushing statistic: The Broncos’ 301 rushing yards were the most against a Seahawks since the 1987 Oakland Raiders.
Second-worst rushing statistic: Anderson, with 195 yards, became the fourth opposing running back to rush for a career-high against the Seahawks this season. Miami’s Lamar Smith (145), Indianapolis’ Edgerrin James (219), and Oakland’s Tyrone Wheatley (156) have also turned the trick.
Best show of speed: Cornerback Shawn Springs came from way back and nearly passed up teammate Michael Sinclair during a first-quarter return of a fumble recovery.
Worst quote: Seattle linebacker Anthony Simmons, on Anderson’s 80-yard touchdown run: "It ended up being a foot race, and he won."
Worst hands: Seahawks fullback Reggie Brown had a big gainer on a pass over the middle, but dropped the ball on Jon Kitna’s first pass of the day.
"During the week, I see the guys putting this play in, and I’m asking myself, Am I really going to run the ball?" Denver wide receiver Rod Smith, on lining up at running back for three carries
"We didn’t have a whole lot to go to get the first down, but I did it because of the wind more than anything." Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren, on going for it on fourth down in the fourth quarter
"They’re giving you an awful lot of money to go out there and play as hard as you can every week. If for no other reason, you don’t want to go into that film room on Sundays and show out like a dog in front of your teammates. As long as that stuff still matters to guys, we’ll be fine. And I don’t think that’s going to be a problem in this locker room." _Seahawks guard Pete Kendall, on the rest of the season
"I hope Brock’s doing well. We’re going to go by the hospital and see him if he’s there. If I have to be the starting quarterback for the rest of the year, then I have to be. But my main concern is hoping that Brock is doing OK." Seahawks quarterback Jon Kitna, on the latest injury to Brock Huard